Bye Bye To Hollywood Theatre And Lion City Hotel Part 2

…continued from Part1.

Sorry for the long delay in the second part of this post.

After 43 years, the Lion City Hotel was gone…Yes, this Lion City Hotel costing $4.2M then was opened in 1968 by the late Dr.Goh Keng Swee, the Minister for Finance. Construction of the hotel started in 1965 at the junction of Tanjong Katong Road and Geylang Road by Wee Thiam Siew Co. Ltd.

C redit : Singapore Press Holding, SPH

It was a 10 storey hotel with 168 fully aircon rooms. It was then near to the Singapore Airport which was at the Paya Lebar then and the city. You will be surprise with the rate then : $30 to $35 for Single Room, $40 to $45 for Double Room, $60 for Family Suite and $90 for Deluxe Room.

Those who had been to the hotel, the shopping complex below was considered an unique feature and one of the largest then. It housed an emporium which sold China products, and there were also a snack-bar, and finance company and bank. There was even a first class restaurant then on the first floor catering both European and Chinese dishes in the evening with a live band playing soft music for dancing. On the ground floor, there was a cocktail lounge too. Maybe many may not be aware that there was even a swimming pool located on one of the floor in the hotel but in the later years, the pool was removed.

It is sad that the Lion City Hotel together with the Hollywood Theatre had to make way for new developments. When you are reading this post, the hotel and it’s surrounding are gone;

Above : Lion City Hotel then

Above : Lion City Hotel going

And the surrounding Hin Hollywood Canteen also disappear;

Above : Then

Above : Gone

So what is left now is probably the Thank You note from their website;

Credit : Lion City Hotel

I remember when I moved in to Haig Road in the 70s, there was the Oriental Emporium on the ground and 1st floor on the Lion City Hotel;

Above 3 Credits : Lee Kip Lin and National Library Board, taken in 1994

Oh the McDonald and Kentucky Fried Chicken were there too! The KFC was opened in 1982 and you can see their ads looking for helpers for the 20th outlet at Lion City Hotel;

Credit : SPH, Straits Times

Of course at one time, the 人民百货公司 (People’s Emporium) was there in place of the Oriental Emporium. Only until the later years, it became a furniture showroom and the ground floor with a mixture of shops;

I still preferred the Oriental Emporium as I liked window shopping there after my dinner as they had a more variety of goods.

Some of the shops already moved out during the last few weeks;

The Happy Restaurant (双喜楼) just besides the main entrance to the hotel;

The restaurant was located upstair on the 1st floor;

In fact almost every year during the Chinese New Year, I would still go there to buy the Yu Sheng (鱼生). I also got mix-up and confused with the other similar names of the restaurant nearby – one at the Tanjong Katong Complex, while the other one in Lion City Plaza.

Even my father like the claypot rice in the Lion City Cafe;

I remember there was once Filipino live band playing in this cafe/snack bar;

The Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlet was just round the corner;

The main entrance to the Lion City Hotel;

The hotel lobby;

The hotel back entrance;

The ‘sheltered carpark’ of the hotel;

The linkway joining the shopping complex and the hotel;

You can see a spiral staircase joined to it;

You can see the other spiral staircase on the right side partially hidden by the tree;

In the past, I like to walk to the Oriental Emporium via this back entrance;

The aerial view of the Oriental Emporium from the Haig Road flats (I supposed) in 1984;

Credit :  PICAS, Naitonal Archive of Singapore

I’m trying to get the same aerial view from the top floor of the flat;

The demolishing of the government quarters in 1974 to make way for the Haig Road Hawker Centre and flats. In the background is the Lion City Hotel with the linkway;

Credit :  PICAS, Naitonal Archive of Singapore

Looking at the Hollywood Theatre from the demolished government quarters in 1974;

Credit :  PICAS, Naitonal Archive of Singapore

When I first look at the above photo, the Hollywood Theatre was not so obvious until I compared it with the below photo;

Distant view of the Lion City Hotel probably from the Sims Avenue or Geylang Road junction;

A 1970 photo of the Lion City Hotel;

Above 2 credits : PICAS, Naitonal Archive of Singapore

Current View;

1994 view of the hotel from the overhead bridge;

Below is one I took from the overhead bridge in 2011;

What my father wrote;
“A Stumble May Prevent A Fall.”

54 Responses to “Bye Bye To Hollywood Theatre And Lion City Hotel Part 2”

  1. 1 YC Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    yeah we used to walk by to the hollywood canteen; i also remember eating lots of KFC meals there. BTW i watched Hwang Fei Hong by Jet Li in the Hollywood theatre! Ah, memories…

  2. 2 imlumlum Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    When did Lion City Hotel close?? which date??

  3. 3 J.L Situ Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 5:11 am

    There goes Lion City Hotel, where my parents had their wedding. Kinda sad that it’s no more.

  4. 4 Jocelyne Sze Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Good job on the post, I loved it!

    Really sad to have to see it go, I used to stay nearby and I still go to the Catholic church down the road. The food at Hin Hollywood Canteen was great and my mom used to reminisce about the place everytime we went there. All these wonderful places disappearing, and in their place, towering, spanking new shopping complexes or condominiums instead. Really tragic, I think :/

  5. 5 Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Hi mate,

    Thanks for the the post. I guess the current “Thank You” note at the website will bring some tears to the eyes for all who still remembers this place.

  6. 6 Sharifah Friday, May 4, 2012 at 10:30 am

    As someone who grew up in the area, I’m going to miss the Lion City Hotel.
    More recently, I enjoyed sitting and writing at the Banquet food court there.

  7. 7 Old Lim Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 8:00 am

    The Oriental Emporium was preceded by People’s Emporium (人民百货公司), which was owned by an Indonesian tycoon. The first store I visited that had auto-doors. Those doors were operated by weight sensors beneath rubber mats in front of them, very novel then.

  8. 8 Ramli Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 10:01 am

    If I remembered correctly, this hotel is nearest to Paya lebar Airport in the 60’s and 70’s. There was also a hotel that stood at the location where City Plaza is now (not sure if it is Singapore Hotel? or Hotel Singapura?)

  9. 9 chung Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    thank you for sharing pics, bring back fond memories

  10. 10 Philip Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Thank You so much for the write up on the hotel.I had no idea it was going to be demolish.Thats one of the few hotels in that area that i thought was reasonable /cheap for me as a malaysian when i visit singapore.I found out the hard way when we went by it a few months ago in a cab!All the memories suddenly come rushing to mind.I look at my wife with a big smile on my face for all the memoriesThanks lioncity hotel!What are they building there in its place?

  11. 11 Wes Monday, November 12, 2012 at 5:31 am

    Great blog. Over the past 15 years I have stayed near Haig Road so Hin Hollywood Canteen, Hollywood Theater and Lion City have been places I have been or part of my Singapore. Sad to see all these places go away especially the prata stall…

  12. 12 Sandy Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    thank you for these posts. they will be precious in future!

  13. 13 Singapore Memory Project Monday, December 10, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    On behalf of the National Library Board (NLB), we would like to invite you to pledge your blog to the Singapore Memory Project as part of efforts to collect memories that are already manifested in existing online channels.

    The Singapore Memory Project (SMP) is a national initiative to collect, preserve and provide access to Singapore’s knowledge materials. Spearheaded by NLB, the SMP aims to build a national collection of content in diverse formats (including print, audio and video), to preserve them in digital form, and make them available for discovery and research.

    By pledging your blog to SMP, you are affirming that every memory matters. Whether your posts are an account of your daily life, or an expression of your thoughts, the SMP hopes to find a home for your memories so that it can help build towards an understanding of Singapore. You will also receive a badge that you can display on your blog in recognition of your contributions.

    Contributors to this blog pledging initiative will be listed on Singapore Memory portal’s blog pledging webpage. All blogs pledged to SMP will archived using NLB’s web harvesting software, in addition to images of each blog’s landing page.

    If you are keen to pledge your blog to SMP, simply fill up our response form at this following URL:

    You may find out more about this initiative at

    We are looking forward to your contribution.

    Krishna |Social Media Analyst|Simulation Software & Technology (S2T) Pte Ltd 583 Orchard Road #14-02 Forum The Shopping Mall S(238884), Singapore o: +65 61006747 | f: +65 62341956 | w:

  14. 14 MOHAMED MARZOOQ Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Its really sad to see the lion city hotel demolished.i stayed in lion city hotel for three months in 1990.It’s a very nice hotel with friendly staff.

  15. 15 Calvin Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    They are building private condo now.

  16. 16 Lau Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    While I was searching the web for old Singapore photos. I came upon this site. I remembered that I held my wedding dinner at the Double Happiness Restaurant in 1999 and we were given a complimentary night stay at the hotel. Whenever, my wife and I drove past that place I would tell my children that we had held our dinner there. Thank you for the photos of the place!

  17. 17 Owen Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like
    you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive
    the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is great
    blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

  18. 18 PoE Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I know this site gives quality depending articles and additional
    material, is there any other web site which offers such stuff in quality?

  19. 19 Jed Mitter Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Very well written. Used to have People stay in the Hotel especially Malaysian Athletes whom our company used to sponsor for Sporting Events at the National Stadium. The Cafe had great local food

  20. 20 LMS Friday, May 9, 2014 at 1:58 am

    Anybody know if happy restaurant (shuangxi lou) open anymore? If yes, where?

  21. 21 Chuang Shyue Chou Monday, September 1, 2014 at 11:14 am

    It is such a pity to see this landmark disappear. I remember the distinctive feel of the concrete block. It stood out as an example of a building of its time.

  22. 22 hotel booking Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Superb, what a web site it is! This web site presents useful information to us, keep it up.

  23. 23 70's Katong Boy Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    For so long I have had not passed by that road although I stay in the eastern part of Singapore. Most of the time I go by the expressway, either TPE, ECP or PIE. It is so sad that such a wonderful place being demolished and have to make way for new development.

    When I was schooling in Katong in the early 70’s, these two places ( Lion City Hotel coffee house and the Hollywood theatre, are among few of my favourite places to go after school.

    I also miss the Double Happiness Restaurant which I had attended few wedding dinners there in the 80’s and 90’s.

    Well, this can now only be in our memory.

    70’s Katong Boy

  24. 24 70's-80's Haig Road Boy Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Thank you for this post. It really is a walk down memory lane for me. Missing that place now 😦

    70’s-80’s Haig Road Boy ;).

  25. 25 Eric Poh Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    thank you for making the effort to preserve people’s memories. Appreciate it.

  26. 26 David Kingston Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Dim Sum, our Friday lunch treat at the Lion City Hotel. We were working at Paya Lebar airport from MSA for several months back in 1969, staying at the long gone Katong Grange Hotel in Meyer Road.. Afternoon treat there was high tea on the lawn, right by the sea. While we were there, a causeway was constructed and the Katong Grange was suddenly 200 yards from the sea, and a motorway was constructed. Mrs Butcher ran the hotel, where we watched murky TV images of Armstrong walking on the moon in the restaurant. We also celebrated the 150 year anniversary of Raffles, the facilities offered by the Flying Club at Paya Lebar, the Yatch Club, the Swimming Club, etc… …. Those were the days!

  27. 27 Jeffery Monday, March 2, 2015 at 12:35 am

    I remembered when I had overseas friend visited Singapore back in 1990s, he stayed in Lion City Hotel. The room was comfortable and the front desk staff were friendly. It is so sad to hear now its gone to give way for new development. :(:(

  28. 28 kdcrazie27 Friday, March 6, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    As children in the 60s and 70s from a kampong not far from here, we (me and my sisters) would always come here ( Hin Hollywood Restaurant) for their famous iced jelly fruit cocktail .. We called it Hollywood Jelly..We would pass the Lion City Hotel for our annual Hari Raya Bazaar in Geylang Serai.. As we grow older and lived in the western part of Singapore.. we would park our car at the Lion City Hotel carpark before going to Haig Road Food/Hawker Centre nearby… So sad both are gone now…Thanks for the pics..Lovely memories…

  29. 29 Katong Kelvin Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Thanks for that little trip down memory lane. I do miss the place. I remember eating at the Lion City Cafe quite often as it was just walking distance from my house. They had nice clay pot rice, and at one time also a poh piah semi buffet. Unfortunately, now every all tear down for modern shopping centers and condo, condo, condo.

  30. 30 Sean Saturday, July 4, 2015 at 3:03 am

    Thank you for the memory. I didn’t even realise that it has disappeared until this year. There is a new Mall called oneKm around there now.

  31. 31 bhp poznań usługi Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 8:06 am

    wonderful put up, very informative. I ponder why the other specialists of this
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  32. 32 Pek KH Friday, July 31, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    I was born in the 60’s and grow up in Haig Road till i shift out in the early 90’s. Thank you for all your wonderful photo. Really bring back many of my childhood memory….

  33. 33 Alonzo Powell Monday, October 5, 2015 at 2:25 am

    I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This paragraph posted at
    this web page is in fact nice.

  34. 34 Tony Chua Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Yes. Indeed was People’s Emporium before Oriental Emporium. My 姑丈 father was the boss.

  35. 35 brick homes Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 6:29 am

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  36. 37 Kim Friday, August 5, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Not to mention the Galaxy cinema. All gone now. Quite sad

  37. 39 Aileen Monday, May 15, 2017 at 3:33 am

    I just came across this article and enjoyed it very much as I was searching for ex employees of Lion City Hotel as I was a receptionist there in late 60`s when Mr. Menon was the GM. Funny no ex employee read this.

    Really brought back fond memories of a place long gone. Been back to Singapore several times these past 45 years and of course lots of improvements and changes are always occurring. Glad some old buildings in China town are preserved and the Paranakan culture is still maintained.

    Thanks again for your blog.
    Any ex colleagues of Lion City Hotel please feel free to contact me. Love to catch up especially in the Reception area.

  38. 40 Henry Kigolena Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    I stayed for 3 minths in Lion City Hotel whilst attending a couse at the Singapore Aviation Academy in1994. I do have fond memories of my stay and do treasure them. On my visits to Singapore I always visit the area and shed tears for what was truly one of Singapore’s historical landmark. It was home to me that time.

  39. 42 zambia Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Howdy this is somewhat of off topic but I was wanting to know
    if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I
    wanted to get guidance from someone with experience.
    Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  40. 43 Tony Rigby Friday, January 5, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    I found a business card from the Lion City Hotel today – from my stay in 1979. Where can I post a scan? What is Telex and what is a Cable? Can I still dial Singapore 498111?

  41. 44 Dani Chandra YP Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Thank you for shared this memory, I stayed there twice in 2009.

  42. 45 Sham Sunday, April 12, 2020 at 12:11 pm


    Galaxy cinema bite the dust. But the building still exist. Its now owned by Muslim convert asso of Singapore.

    Btw i still remember those “lucky dip” at People’s emporium. Just cost me $1.00 and i picked by gifts. :(:)

  43. 46 Ababil long Friday, May 28, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    Very sad the hotel has closed down..
    Use to stay there when my first time visiting Singapore..

  44. 47 Dian Saturday, August 6, 2022 at 10:03 am

    lovely memories… wish you have the picture of McDonald’s beside KFC too… stayed at haig road for 30 years and yes all of us take the short cut at the carpark to go to emporium which is like the best aircon shop a kid love to get lost to while her mother shops… cheers!

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